Thursday, August 6, 2009

Remembrance of times past

As I sit here, nursing my cup of instant Nescafe espresso, sweetened with several heaping spoons of sugar, and a shot of condensed milk, fiddling with the menacing "heating system" (see earlier post for photographic details), I am strongly reminded of my days as an undergraduate at that fine institution of higher learning, University College, Cork. Perhaps it's the unabashed 70's flavour of the rented apartment, (tiled floor, inadequate heating, generally shoddy construction, furniture that is straight from the seventies, both in its design and colouring). The Nescafe definitely acts as some kind of Proustian trigger, as does the chocolate biscuit I am eating as accompaniment.

Throughout the seventies, there was what appeared to be an unending ad campaign by Cadbury's on Irish TV for one kind of chocolate-covered biscuit confection after another, usually depicting some demoralized kind of bank clerk woman, who would arrive home to her somewhat bleak-looking lodgings, only to give herself up to a moment of instant, orgasmic bliss as she bit in to whatever chocolatey treat was being peddled. The subliminal message was entirely clear, and as subtle as a bulldozer - even if your life is completely humdrum and you live in a hellhole, there is sweet instant relief to be found in a Cadbury's product. It is hardly coincidental that the space given over to sweets and biscuits in your average Irish supermarket of the era would have astounded even the most jaded American consumer. The subsequent havoc wrought on Irish dentition in people of my generational cohort is likely to keep future archaeologists speculating for many a long year.

So here I sit, half-thinking I should be studying for my honours maths exams in September. Only by turning on the TV, tuned to the latest breaking news on CNN Chile, am I able to dispel the overpowering sense of deja vu.

Truth be told, there's something oddly comforting about the whole situation.

1 comment:

Corpus Delicti said...

I once had coffee with a guy named Mat at his house. I was there to get his permission to use one of his drawings for a postcard I was having made up. He was quite a talented artist, you see. Nevertheless, he had been dumb since birth and the communication was full of all kinds of oddities. He'd never learned 'proper' sign language (Ed: me neither) but had a range of mimes he used to get his point across. I pretty much got the offer of coffee, but then ... in relation to the issue of milk he suddenly grabbed his wife and mimed squeezing her tit into the cup.

I've drunk it black ever since.